WASHINGTON, June 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) kicked off its 23rd Partnership Meeting in Washington, D.C., yesterday with inspiring keynote remarks by Greg Page, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cargill. WCF's twice annual Partnership Meetings aim to unite the private and public sectors in a shared mutual interest in advancing cocoa sustainability.
Page's focus on sustainability and food security pointed out the importance of sustaining the smallholder and the important role of cocoa companies. Cargill's vision is to "be the global leader in nourishing people" while protecting and preserving our world's natural resources for future generations, and making the farmer and farming communities a priority.
"It is clear that with the right support and the right incentives, smallholder famers can increase their productivity to meet the demands of our growing global population," Page explained. "But as equally important is that with the right support they can improve their own livelihoods, strengthen their own communities, stimulate their own economies and invest in their own futures."
WCF President Bill Guyton applauded Page's link between cocoa farmers and food security. "Any conversation about food security must take into account the pivotal role played by millions of cocoa farmers in West Africa. We need more leaders who, like Cargill's Greg Page, understand how cocoa farmers, through intercropping and other agricultural practices, contribute greatly to food security in their communities." Cargill is one of more than a dozen corporate supporters of WCF's Cocoa Livelihoods Program, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that is helping to raise farmer incomes through improvements in quality and quantity of cocoa yields in Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria.
Looking to the future, Page emphasized the importance of engaging smallholder farmers to ensure a global food system that is resilient, sustainable, and provides sufficient safe, affordable food for a growing global population. Cargill is doing this in cocoa farming communities by teaching good agricultural practices and business skills to help cocoa farmers improve productivity and increase their earnings.
During the keynote address, Page announced the 'Cargill Cocoa Promise', which underlines Cargill's commitment to supporting sustainable agriculture and global food security. The promise builds on Cargill's work in cocoa over the past ten years and reconfirms its efforts to grow and sustain cocoa farming communities. At the same time, it fosters meeting the growing global demand for sustainable cocoa beans by focusing on three key areas where they can make the biggest difference: farmer training, community support and farm development.
Page closed by stating that sustainability is not attainable without cooperation and partnership. "Only by combining our knowledge, skills, resources and investment can we hope to deliver the progress we all desire," he continued. He closed by reiterating the importance of keeping farmers a central focus of success.
The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) is an international membership foundation of more than 100 companies that promotes a sustainable cocoa economy by providing cocoa farmers with the tools they need to grow more and better cocoa, market it successfully, and make greater profits. WCF's membership includes cocoa and chocolate manufacturers, processors, supply chain managers, and other companies worldwide, representing more than 80% of the global cocoa market. For more information, visit www.worldcocoa.org.
SOURCE World Cocoa Foundation